Barak to hold meeting on legality of striking civilian areas in Gaza
Ramon: International law allows attacks on populated zones; IDF Chief: 90 of 100 Gazans killed were militants.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak will meet Monday with legal experts in the military and government to examine whether the Israel Defense Forces can legally target populated areas from which Qassam rockets are being fired at the western Negev.
Barak asked Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann at Sunday to determine the legality of these attacks. The defense minister will discuss the issue Monday with Friedmann, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, Military Prosecutor Brig.-Gen. Avihai Mandelblit, the Defense Ministry's legal adviser and various elements from within the Foreign Ministry.
During Sunday's cabinet meeting, Vice Premier Haim Ramon asked why the IDF was not directing massive fire at the areas from which Qassams are being launched.
"According to international law, you can do that," he said. "In the Second Lebanon War it was clear that if they shoot from within a village, we can fire on them even if the area is populated."
Following Ramon's comments, Barak asked Friedmann to examine the issue in order to determine whether the IDF indeed has such an option.
IDF: 90 of 100 Gazans killed were militants
Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told ministers that of the 100 Palestinians killed in recent days, 90 of them were militants, mostly from Hamas.
He said that the IDF distributed notices in Gaza before the operation warning the civilian population in rocket-launching areas of the upcoming attacks.
Ashkenazi told ministers: "In one incident we saw an elderly Palestinian leaving Jabaliya with a wagon, in which was hidden a Grad missile. He stopped 'as if coincidentally' next to an orchard. Two militants then arrived there, took the missile, position it on the launcher ? and fired."
The IDF chief added that despite the operation, the IDF would continue its efforts to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and ensure a regular supply of wheat, flour and petrol though the border crossings.